Does Ants Have Wings?
Approximately 12,000 species of ants are found around the world. Among them, 8 percent have wings. While many of these insects are considered to be harmless, some species have been known to bite.
Ants are members of the Formicidae family. They are social insects that form colonies. The colonies are made up of three castes: workers, reproductives, and alates. Workers are responsible for food and work within the colony. Reproductives produce future offspring while alates will eventually leave the colony to form new colonies.
Workers are infertile females that carry out all work within the colony. Females are larger than males and can be 15 mm in length. They are responsible for raising the first generation of offspring in the colony. During this period, the reproductive class develops wings.
In the reproductive phase, females try to escape the males and mate with other individuals from other colonies. The most dominant males in the colony are used as reproductives. The females release pheromones that attract the males. The males then follow the trail.
After mating, the reproductive males die and the alates leave the colony. The queen remains and lays all of the eggs. The future reproductives are produced from these eggs.
Female winged reproductive ants swarm in mid-spring or early summer. These ants are looking for a mate and a new nest site. Swarms can be large and can keep predators away.
Winged ants are a special kind of ants. They undergo a process called nuptial flight. In this process, ants with wings mate while swarming.